Ban on yellow vest protests on Champs-Elysees following rioting

France will shut down any anti-government “yellow vest” protest if violent groups are identified taking part with an intent to wreak havoc in Paris and other major cities, the prime minister said on Monday.

“From next Saturday, we will ban ‘yellow vest’ protests in neighbourhoods that have been the worst hit as soon as we see sign of the presence of radical groups and their intent to cause damage,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a televised statement.

Rioters set fire to a bank and ransacked stores on Paris’s Champs Elysees avenue on Saturday, the latest flare-up of violence in four months of protests against President Emmanuel Macron and his pro-business reforms.

The “yellow vests” began weekly protests across France four months ago, initially because of fuel tax rises. The movement escalated into a broader revolt against perceived elitism, for which activists blame President Emmanuel Macron.

The famous Fouquet’s restaurant – a haunt of some previous French presidents – was badly damaged in Saturday’s clashes.

Rioters also vandalised a Boss menswear store and the luxury Longchamp handbag store.

Later Prime Minister Edouard Philippe admitted there had been security “flaws” which would have to be addressed.

Mr Macron cut short a skiing holiday and vowed “tough” action in response.

“Now that’s the end. I demand that such scenes must not be repeated, especially on that avenue,” he said.

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